When your home's main sewer line clogs, all of your plumbing usage must come to a standstill. The toilet will just overflow or back up if you try to flush it. Water just pools in the tub or sink, perhaps trickling down the drain over a period of an hour or two. Clearly, this is an issue you need to have a sewer service address right away. But what can they do? Here's a look at the possible approaches they might take.
1. Cleaning out debris via the access line.
If the sewer clog is caused just by debris, such as paper towels, sanitary products, and the like, then the sewer company may simply open your sewer cleanout and remove the debris. The sewer cleanout is a vertical line that extends from the surface of the ground down into the sewer line. It typically has a plastic cap on the top of it. Your sewer service can send a snake down the access line to physically grab and pull out the debris. They may also use a tool called a hydrojet, which essentially uses fast-moving water to power away the debris so it can flow down into the sewer.
2. Using an auger to remove tree roots.
Sometimes the clogs in a sewer line are not caused by regular debris and waste but rather by tree roots. Many sewer lines were made from clay in the past, and clay can easily crack, allowing roots to grow into the line. Some were also made from cast iron, which can rust and form holes that roots can grow through. These roots grow into a dense ball that can't easily be cleared away with a sewer snake. So instead, sewer cleaning experts use a rotating blade called an auger. The blade grinds away the roots so water can flow freely through the line again. After this is done, they may sleeve the pipe, which means they'll put a sleeve of plastic material through the inside of it to keep the roots from growing through again.
3. Replace the pipe.
If the sewer line has collapsed or is badly filled with tree roots, your sewer company may simply replace it. This is a pretty extensive project; they will have to dig a large hole in your backyard to remove the old pipe and attach a new one. However, when the process is all over, you won't have to worry about blockages or clogs for many years to come.
A clogged sewer line is never fun to deal with. Contact a sewer service company ASAP to have them take a look and recommend the best approach for your situation.
To learn more, contact a resource like Walt's Plumbing.
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